If you’ve been dealing with spine pain that’s just not responding how you’d like to conservative care, you may be considering surgery. The thought of going under the knife can be intimidating, but medical technology continues to make surgery safer every day. Not only is surgery getting safer, but it’s also getting smaller.
Instead of making a large incision, pulling back the muscles and visualizing the spine with the naked eye, we’re now able to make a couple tiny incisions and use tiny cameras to visualize the surgical site and complete the operation. These minimally invasive operations are extremely beneficial to the patient, and here’s why.
Minimally Invasive Vs. Open Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery is preferred to an open operation for a number of reasons:
Safer – Minimally invasive surgery is considered to be even safer than the open operation, which is very safe on its own. The reason it’s safer is because by using small incisions to access the surgical site, there’s a decreased chance of letting bacteria into the wound, so infection risk is lower. There’s also a reduced likelihood of bleeding because less tissue needs to be cut.
Faster Recovery – Because your incision site is much smaller and fewer tissues and structures need to be cut in order to get to the spine, the majority of patients recover sooner after a minimally invasive operation compared to an open operation.
Less Scarring – In an open procedure, a surgeon may need to make a 4-6 inch incision in order to visualize the surgical site. With a minimally invasive operation, they may only need to make 2-3 incisions that are one inch or smaller in length, which is less likely to procedure a noticeable scar.
Outpatient Basis – Because the minimally invasive procedure is less taxing on your body, some patients can have the operation performed on an outpatient basis. Even if you need to stay overnight, you’re more likely to be discharged sooner if you have a minimally invasive operation compared to an open surgery.
Decreased Pain – Traditional spine surgery can cause a moderate amount of pain and discomfort after a large incision is made. If you go with the minimally invasive operation with smaller incisions, you’re less likely to have increased pain levels after an operation. Because of this, patients who undergo a minimally invasive operation may not need as intense painkillers after an operation, decreasing their risk of dependency.
So if you’ve been dealing with unending spine pain, ask your doctor if minimally invasive back surgery may be an option for you. Not all patients are ideal candidates for minimally invasive surgery, but Dr. Chang specializes in both forms of surgery, so he can help you based on your individual needs. For more information, reach out to his clinic today.